snøhetta plans world's first full-scale ship tunnel for construction in norway

snøhetta plans world's first full-scale ship tunnel for construction in norway


the stad peninsula in norway has a reputation as one of the most dangerous coastlines in the region, with turbulent waters that have claimed the lives of many sailors over the past decades. that’s why norway’s coastal agency kystverket wants to build a €254 million, mile-long ‘ship tunnel’ for the safer passage of commercial vessels through the area.


architecture studio snøhetta has created an illustrated design concept, offering a visual representation of the potential scheme for the first time. at 1.7 kilometers long, 36 meters wide, and 49 meters tall, the proposed design will be first tunnel in the world built for ships. large enough to accommodate vessels such as norway’s hurtigruten coastal steamer.

snøhetta ship tunnel
all images courtesy of kystverket/snøhetta



alongside its practical use, snøhetta’s design will provide the region with a major new tourist attraction if it gets the green light. ‘in such a delicate landscape, the tunnel has to be more than just a foul intervention in nature. we put a lot of effort in making it aesthetically appealing,’ explains terje andreassen, project manager at kystverket, the norwegian coastal administration. the concept features a bridge built over the tunnels southern access point in moldefjord to allow an audience to watch the magnificent vessels as they pass though the tunnel. the northern access point — located in selje — is designed as more of a feature, marked with statement horizontal ledges curving around its entrance.

snøhetta ship tunnel
a bridge will allow audiences to watch the vessels pass though



the tunnel will allow large cruise ships, sailboats, and coastal steamers to pass safely though the stadhavet sea, an area notorious for fierce weather. should everything go to plan, between 70 and 120 ships will be able to pass through the tunnel on a daily basis. the idea of building a ship tunnel has been in discussion for over a century, with the first blueprints drawn up in the 1870s. historians have even documented that vikings used to drag their ships on shore, instead of sailing across the exposed seas. the norwegian coastal association is hoping to have a final political decision about the construction of the tunnel in the upcoming weeks. the earliest start date for construction is expected to be 2019.

snøhetta ship tunnel
the construction will be the first ship tunnel in the world


a short film by kystverket shows how the tunnel will function







  • I’m sorry to say that it will not be the first “ship tunnel” in the the world… Near Marseille, in France, is the real first one, opened in 1927. It connected the Etang of Berre to the Mediterranean Sea and was closed in 1963 after a collapse of its vault …

    Nicolas Weydert says:
  • The French tunnel is for tiny barges, not ships.

    Chris Olden says:
  • Actualy it’s not a World First at all.
    There is a former Black Sea Fleet naval base in Balaklava (Crimea) with a ‘full-scale’ tunnel for submarines built in 1950s.
    Museum now.

    Nikolai says:

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